Talks calm anger

2015-07-08 06:00
ANGRY residents of the Dikgatlong Municipality in Barkly West during a march to the municipality.  
Boipelo Mere

ANGRY residents of the Dikgatlong Municipality in Barkly West during a march to the municipality. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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THE situation remains calm in the Dikgatlong Municipality in Barkly West as the Concerned Residents’ Forum and Willie Mogongoa, the Dikgatlong Municipality mayor, seem to be on the verge of reaching a mutual agreement.

The angry residents, who have been on continuous service delivery protests since November 2014, have made a complete turnaround after the mayor had addressed them in a three-hour meeting on Tuesday, 30 June.

During their last march to deliver a memorandum to the mayor two weeks ago, the residents threatened to sjambok the mayor all the way to the Dikgatlong Stadium in order for him to address the community.

The protesters received a response from the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court, and the mayor seven days after handing over the memorandum as per demand and as promised by both parties.

According to the response from local magistrate Madelein Voster of the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court the case involving five arrested community members is no longer at the court, but with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The five were arrested in February for public violence and damage to property and incarcerated afterwards for contravening their bail conditions. The forum has to submit an application to the national director of public prosecutions.

Apart from last week Tuesday’s meeting at the Dikgatlong sports grounds having to be dispersed due to community members’ tempers flying high, the Concerned Members’ Forum sees a way forward.

According to Super Selemogo, one of the forum’s members, an agreement was reached for protests to stop in return for the mayor working with them to address the allegations of incompetence within the municipality.

Commenting on reports by the forum that he had agreed to be involved in the drafting of the letter to the national director of public prosecutions, Mogongoa said he was not legally bound to be involved in drafting the letter. He clarified that the promise he had made was to monitor the performance of unqualified officials within the municipality.

“We cannot just fire people due to allegations. We have to measure them according to their performance. The underperforming workers will be dealt with and their performance measured,” Mogongoa said

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